catThere’s nothing like walking through the house barefoot when suddenly you feel a wet, soggy squish underfoot. When your cat coughs up hairballs, it’s no fun for you or for kitty. Thankfully, hairballs are fairly easy to treat and prevent.

How do hairballs form?

Cats are very meticulous self-groomers. It’s a survival strategy that helps keep their scent to a minimum, meaning their presence is less obvious to both their prey and their predators. Cats will groom themselves several times a day, especially after meal time. The hooks on their tongues clear away both food debris and hair.

Even though the hair is indigestible, it usually passes through your cat’s gastrointestinal tract without a problem. However, when an excess of hair builds up in your kitty’s stomach, your cat will sometimes need to vomit out the mass to remove it.

Are hairballs a serious problem?

Hairballs that cannot be passed either through the stool or by vomiting can form very serious intestinal blockages. If you observe your cat retching and hacking without bringing anything up, experiencing constipation or diarrhea, or becoming lethargic and losing his or her appetite, an intestinal blockage may be to blame. You should bring your cat to the vet right away.

How can they be prevented?

Commercial diets are available to help relieve kitties with frequent hairball problems. They usually contain more fiber to help push the hair through your cat’s gastrointestinal tract, along with other ingredients that improve coat quality and discourage shedding. Other popular hairball remedies are essentially palatable, mild laxatives, such as Laxatone. Yet, one of the simplest and most cost effective ways to prevent hairballs from forming is to brush your cat.

Do you have a kitty who loves to be brushed? Don’t forget to show your pet sitter where to find all of your cat’s favorite and essential items, such as brushes, toys, and more! Our pet sitters love to give as much attention as your kitty desires. Call us today!

Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

Photo by Mariamichelle on pixabay.